I’ve been doing some testing today on the iBook e-reader that Apple provides for the iPad. I’ve not-so-much been testing the reading experience, but testing the capabilities for outside material.
You can, of course, buy books directly from Apple’s iBookstore and they even have a selection of free e-books – of exactly the kind you’d expect from Project Gutenberg – but you’re not limited to e-books strictly from the iBookstore. Apple has chose to use the epub standard. so I thought I’d give that a test.
First, I went to epubbooks.com and downloaded a free book. By simply dropping it in iTunes, it transferred to my iPad on the next synch. No glitches.
Next, I was working on a programming project and I needed to consult the online, PDF manual. Of course, I could have easily brought the PDF up on the iPad, but I remembered that some people used software to convert PDFs to epubs. I downloaded a piece of software called Calibre and soon had my PDF document converted to epub. The results were passable, although the PDF conversion didn’t always get the pages or pictures formatted correctly.
I also used Calibre to convert and RSS feed into an e-book with mixed results. My own blog came out near picture perfect, but a friends apparently upset the applecart and the whole thing came out an unreadable mess.
Finally, I took a Fusion Patrol novel I started writing last year and converted it to an e-book. Like some many other writing projects, I made it about a third of the way through and got distracted from finishing it. For a lark, rather than just checking out how well it had formatted, I decided to read it end to end.
I don’t know how other people interact with their writing, but for me, writing is somewhere between a torturous chore to a matter of necessity. There are times when I just must write, but then as the steam wears off, it becomes painful to continue.
Then comes the second-guessing phase. After a certain period of time, if I go back and re-read my earlier works I usually find (A) typos and (B) that I hate what I wrote.
But every once in a while, I look back and I say, “Hey, that’s not bad.” and so it was with Fusion Patrol: The Penny Dreadful (working title). I actually like what I wrote.
It looks good as an e-book, too. Consider this to be a “sample”.
Now I have to finish it.